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Boston fans make racist remarks, throw peanuts at Orioles’ Adam Jones

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The Red Sox and Orioles have a bit of a rivalry brewing, especially after last week’s incident in which reliever Matt Barnes threw a fastball at Manny Machado‘s head. Barnes was immediately ejected from that game and later handed a four-game suspension for his actions. The Red Sox weren’t happy with Machado, who had slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base two games prior and injured him.

At the very least, last week’s series got the blood flowing and pumped interest into Monday’s series opener. The game itself was fine — the Orioles won 5-2. Machado homered and made a few nifty defensive plays.

Unfortunately, it’s some racist fans in Boston who are stealing the spotlight. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that some fans at Fenway Park directed racist remarks towards Jones and one even threw a bag of peanuts at him. Jones said, “A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me. I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”

Jones continued, saying, “It’s different. Very unfortunate. I heard there was 59 or 60 ejections tonight in the ballpark. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball. It’s unfortunate that people need to [resort] to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m trying to make a living for myself and for my family.”

Regarding the fan who threw peanuts at him, Jones said, “It’s pathetic. It’s called a coward. What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check. That’s how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It’s a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he’s done. At the end of the day, when you throw an object onto the field of play, the player has no idea what it is. What if something hit me right in the eye and I can’t play baseball anymore. Then what? I just wear it? No. Things like that need to be handled a little more properly, in my opinion.”

Though the fans, of course, were acting on their own volition, the Red Sox will likely make a formal apology to Jones and the Orioles on Tuesday. Jones said that Monday wasn’t the first time he’d been the subject of racist remarks at Fenway Park, but he did say that it was one of the worst experiences he’s had during his 12 years in the majors.

Related: A Giants fan threw a banana at Jones in 2013, and Red Sox starter David Price said back in January that he heard racist taunts from Boston fans as well.

Brewers won’t punish Josh Hader for offensive tweets

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Some old tweets of Josh Hader‘s surfaced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday, containing offensive and hateful language. Major League Baseball responded by ordering Hader to attend sensitivity training and attend diversity initiatives.

The Brewers won’t punish Hader themselves, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. GM David Stearns says the club is taking its lead from MLB, which has already handed down its punishment to Hader. Additionally, the Brewers’ lack of punishment has to do with the tweets occurring when Hader was younger — 17 years old — and not involved with professional baseball.

Stearns also said of Hader’s tweets, “I don’t think they’re representative of who he is. I think they’re offensive. I think they’re ill-informed and ignorant but I don’t think they represent who he is as a person right now.” Stearns added, “I don’t know how he’s going to work through it. The truth is he has put himself in this situation. And he’s going to have to work very hard to get through it.”

Hader apologized on Wednesday, saying, “I was 17 years old, and as a child I was immature, and obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today.” Hader said, “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said. I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago.”

Lorenzo Cain, a black outfielder and teammate of Hader’s, said, “I know Hader; he’s a great guy. I know he’s a great teammate. I’m fine. Everybody will be O.K. We’ll move on.” Cain further defended Hader, saying, “We’ve all said crazy stuff growing up, even when we were 17, 18 years old. If we could follow each other around with a recorder every day, I’m sure we all said some dumb stuff. We’re going to move on from this.”

First baseman Jesús Aguilar also came to Hader’s defense:

However, Aguilar also retweeted a tweet from Scott Wheeler of The Athletic which had screencaps of Royals 2B/OF Whit Merrifield and Angels outfielder Mike Trout using the word “gay” pejoratively in tweets. Merrifield also used the word “retard” pejoratively.

The “he was 17” defense rings hollow. At 17 years old, one is able to join the military, get a full driver’s license (in many states), apply for student loans, and get married (in some states). Additionally, one is not far off from being able to legally buy cigarettes and guns. Given all of these other responsibilities we give to teenagers, asking them not to use racial and homophobic slurs is not unreasonable. Punishing them when they do so is also not unreasonable.

A study from several years ago found that black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than white boys. A similar study from last year found that black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Cameron Tillman, among many others, never got the benefit of the doubt that Hader and countless other white kids have gotten and continue to get in our society. When we start giving the same benefit of the doubt to members of marginalized groups, then we can break out the “but he was only 17” defense for Hader.

We also need to ask ourselves what our inaction regarding Hader’s words will say to members of those marginalized communities. Will it tell them that we value the comfort of those in power above everyone else? Will it tell members of marginalized groups that they are not welcome? In this case, it absolutely will. It communicates the message that, as long as you are white and can perform athletic feats, there’s no level of bigotry the league won’t tolerate. Furthermore, as the league and its 30 individual teams make more efforts towards inclusiveness with events like “Pride Night,” the inaction comes off as two-faced and hypocritical. This is why Major League Baseball — and the Brewers — should have done more to respond to Hader’s tweets.